Objective: The aim of this study was to test the efficacy of a 12-month lifestyle intervention in improving cardiovascular disease risk factors in community-based menopausal transition and early postmenopausal women in China.
Methods: One hundred healthy menopausal transition and early postmenopausal women aged 40 to 60 years were randomly assigned to receive either lifestyle change intervention (n = 53) or usual care (n = 47). Menopause status was defined by the menstrual change criteria of the Stages of Reproductive Aging Workshop + 10 based on prospective menstrual calendars. Women in the intervention group were provided with a colorful booklet that included dietary and physical activity recommendations, were individually interviewed, and completed biophysical cardiovascular risk assessments at the Women’s Health Center (Beijing, China). Women were encouraged to follow a healthy eating pattern and to increase their aerobic activity (moderate level, 3 d/wk, 40 min/d). Women in the control group continued their usual eating patterns and activities. Weight, body mass index (BMI), waist circumference–to–hip circumference ratio (WHR), waist circumference (WC), body composition, blood pressure (BP), blood glucose, and serum lipids were assessed at baseline, 3 months, 6 months, and 12 months in both groups.
Results: Women in the intervention group were observed to have significant decreases in weight, BMI, WC, WHR, systolic BP, total cholesterol, and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol compared with women in the control group. At 3 months, there were significant decreases in weight (−0.28 vs 0.68 kg, P = 0.002), BMI (−0.06 vs 0.44 kg/m2, P = 0.003), WC (−0.28 vs 1.43 cm, P = 0.001), and WHR (−0.01 vs 0.01, P = 0.045) in the intervention group compared with the control group. At 6 months, there were significant decreases in WC (−0.73 vs 1.02 cm, P = 0.012), WHR (−0.02 vs −0.003, P = 0.020), and systolic BP (−7.52 vs −0.63 mm Hg, P = 0.012) favoring the intervention group over the control group. At 12 months, there were significant decreases in total cholesterol (−0.07 vs 0.03 mmol/L, P = 0.045) and low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (−0.13 vs 0.01 mmol/L, P = 0.022) in the intervention group versus the control group.
Conclusions: Lifestyle intervention may be an effective means for reducing cardiovascular disease risk factors in menopausal transition and early postmenopausal women in China.